God of This City

Sunday morning my little family slept a little later than usual, swung by Shipley’s Donuts and headed to church. Sunday school had been cancelled, which is totally a bummer because I love that part. I’m such a fellowship person.

We entered the sanctuary and it was slowly filling up. Two weeks ago our church had just started meeting in the sanctuary again after a five-month exodus into the chapel, fellowship hall, and gym while it got a much-needed renovation. That first Sunday back in the new sanctuary was incredible. It was so exciting and there was a wonderful spirit of praise and thanks to God. We sang Chris Tomlin’s “God of this City” and proclaimed that “greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city.” We sang it loud and proud.

The very next Sunday there was no church because of the hurricane. Then there was Sunday, September 21 – only our second service in the newly renovated sanctuary. I cannot adequately describe how different the mood was in the service this week. Quiet. Somewhat broken. Sweet. Humble. Sober. Unsure. Pastor Gregg poured his heart out to love on us and shepherd us. His sermon was directly related to the hurricane and he talked about what we can learn from it. Three things will stick with me. For some people, this was a correcting storm. For others, it was a perfecting storm. And God wants to use it to shave the silliness off of our lives. When Curt and I went to the mall last week to get Baby’s two little outfits after the ultrasound, I can’t tell you how ridiculous and obscene it felt. Were we really at the mall when there was so much devastation everywhere? I think that is what a lot of us are feeling right now. I’m sure it will wear off for most Houstonians, but hopefully it won’t wear off for the Church. I certainly don’t want it to wear off for me. I really need it. This is something I feel God has been doing in my life for the past little while and I want to see the work made complete.

I remember when we were in England how different the elderly people were from everyone else. They had survived The War. Many had been shipped off from their parents when they were kids to live in regions of England where they would be safe from the fighting. They had been through a ton in their young years and they were not caught up in the silliness of the present-day culture. They made do with little and they didn’t need extravagance. This way of being was not attractive to me at age 24. I wanted very much to project a certain image and to have as much as I could of what the world could give me, while having the things of God, too. (I’m not talking about things that are plain sinful as much as things that are permissible, but not beneficial.) I so appreciate God’s patience with me at every stage of life. I also appreciate that He changes me. I am getting ever-so-close to my thirties and I’m happy that in 13 months I’ll cross that line with a different heart and mind than that of my 24-year-old self. I will say the same as I enter my forties, I’m sure.

Pastor Gregg exhorted us let this storm do its work in our lives – to let it be more than the inconvenience that it’s been for most of us. Honestly, I haven’t even been inconvenienced all that much. As he asked the congregation how many were still without power, the vast majority raised their hands. I was stunned. My cross to bear has been a tiny one. Still, He has allowed me to take a look at my own life and see the silliness, and to gaze at what matters. I want to learn this lesson.

That morning we sang “God of This City” again. We did so loudly, not as proudly, but full of faith. As we sang, images of our damaged region flashed across the whole front wall of the sanctuary. Our words went up as a prayer to God. While we worshipped in our lovely new sanctuary, we knew that only a few miles away Second Baptist Church was meeting outside. Part of the dome at the top of their beautiful sanctuary had been ripped away during the storm and the damage was extensive. They are out of their sanctuary indefinitely. The body of Christ in this town is having a moment with the Lord, y’all. How I pray that the fruit will be sweet and that everyone who lives here will get a taste…and see that He is good.

God, You are the God of this city. You’re the King of these people. We feel broken by You but loved at the same time. Like today when I had to give Jackson a spanking for locking me out of the house while I fetched the groceries, but he clung to me for a long time afterward. I know You love us. You are not done with this city. Strengthen the remnant. Build up Your Kingdom here, Lord.


122 Responses to “God of This City”

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  1. 51
    Anonymous says:


    It is so awesome how God works. In the past couple of weeks God has shown me and a couple of my Bible Study siestas that we need to be praying for our town and our nation. He laid this same song on my heart and I too have been singing it at church and in the car as I pray over my town. Thank you for sharing this post. I am in agreement and God is working mightily. Praise His Holy Name.

    Forever His,

    Lawan Rivera
    Phil 4:8

  2. 52
    Patty says:

    What a beautifully written post and for pointing us to what really matters. My heart has gone out to all of you. My heart broke for the areas hit and the sweet families. May God encourage each person affected by this hurricane. This is a reminder for all of us. God taught me a similar lesson with a change that happened to me over the weekend. God prepared me in advance that it was going to happen but it affects my boys,and myself but God gently spoke to my heart that money is not my security, He is. A home is not our security, He is. I praise God for provision and daily meeting our needs. I am believing God to do that for all the families who suffered through this hurricane.
    Have a blessed week!

  3. 53
    Meghan says:

    What a picture you have painted for us. Thank you for that.
    I will be crossing the bridge into my thirties in 9 months and I will be going into it with some new lessons learned. Sometimes painful ones. I am in the middle of a painful lesson right now. My own fault. A couple of weeks ago I asked God to make this lesson quick even if it meant more short term pain. I did not want it to linger. Boy, He listened and stepped up the volume, but I am listening. May the people of your great city be listening and hearing His voice of comfort and peace in this disaster.

  4. 54
    Joy in the Burbs... says:

    Great Post Amanda. Our church sang God of this City this Sunday too up in The Woodlands. I’ve been really convicted in these areas as well. Excess, materialism and some silliness in my life.
    So sorry to hear about Second Baptist Sanctuary.
    Also, congratulations on your baby girl.
    Love, Joy

  5. 55
    Tracy says:

    Your words summed up the storm and the aftermath perfectly! In the midst of the storm I had to remind myself over and over again that we were in His hands and it was all His. We are thankful for His mercy to our family … and have hearts full of prayer for our “new” hometown (we moved to Houston 2 years ago … from FL where we weathered 4 hurricanes!) This past week has been sobering and humbling … and God has used the storm and the days afterward to chisel parts of “me” away as well! My inconvenience is really nothing compared to what others are suffering … I have truly found it difficult to complain about no power or anything else … not because I am such a gracious person, but because God is a grace giver!(We worship at First and I teach at Second and we are beyond thankful that what could have been so much worse wasn’t … and, it has been comforting to watch the dome being repaired at Second!)

  6. 56
    Lianna Knight says:

    I heard this song too while visiting my parents and Lakewood Church. Thanks for reminding me that He IS the God of this city…and He is the God of our hearts, lives, desires, families, marriage and EVERYTHING!

  7. 57
    Denise says:

    I just want to Praise Him!

    Thank you, Amanda, for putting into words what so many feel. My family is in Houston (still without power) and it’s not easy!

    “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.” Job 37:5

    He spoke to Job in the storm, and He is speaking to us. Listen …

  8. 58
    Ashley Griffin says:

    Remember the words in Hosea 6:1-3
    Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.

  9. 59
    Lopsided Halo says:

    Wow!! Reading that just makes me think about the new “Jerusalem” that God is preparing for us ๐Ÿ™‚

    Greater things are yet to be done in the city….and in the city of our lives too ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to see them

  10. 60
    Little Steps Of Faith says:

    And this is for Lavonda…
    I think it depends where your heart is for what bible study you decide…
    if your heart is heavy, then Breaking Free, if you just are craving some good ol’ Godly wisdom…then ” Wising Up”:)
    Hope this helps:)

    Be Blessed:)


  11. 61
    Susan Murphy says:

    Sista Libby said what I wanted to say. Ya’ll are truly in my prayers and it does hurt to see all of the devastation but to know God truly takes care of His children.

    The Lord truly wants to be Lord over our cities and our lives and He wants us to get serious about serving Him.

    Don’t worry Amanda I’ve been locked out more times than enough when my kids were small . I had to climb through the front room window to get in the house . Hugs to ya! My oldest son after I had my fourth child got ahold of my husbands handcuffs and put them on his legs and we had to call out another Deputy to take the cuffs off of Him. My Husband was at work at the time and I couldn’t drive and my baby was about ten days old.

  12. 62
    Terri_in_Alabama says:


    I just love the honest way you bear your heart. I have been praying for all of those in the path. I work with some of those people (even though I am hundreds of miles away) who have lost everything. But, God’s Spirit of mercy and grace are so very present in their lives. Praise be to God!

  13. 63
    Bonnie/Momof3 says:

    Dear Amanda,

    I’m reading your entry before I go to bed and my heart is moved by your words. You see, silliness was shaved from my heart at an early age by an unhappy home life and then the abuse of an older sister through much of my young adult life. Praise the Lord however, because I have eyes for HIm along. I have been blessed immeasurably through my marriage of 25 years to a godly man and have 3 beautiful ‘almost grown’ kids. God walked me through the fire to a safe side. I have scars but Jesus has the Mederma cream, the Balm of Gilead that softens and dissolves the past. I love the Psalm 63:7-8: “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you: your right hand upholds me.” I think devastating experiences, wars, hurricanes, abuse, take us to a “shaving” of silliness, or at least, to a greater understanding of what’s truly important in life.
    I praise Him everyday for the JOY life with Him brings … trials and all.

    I’m praying for you and precious baby girl over these next few months. How blessed she will be (as Jackson is) to call you ‘mother’.

    Take care and get your needed rest.

  14. 64
    nana2silas says:

    I will be reading this post again and meditating on it. What a powerful word for me, in far away West Texas, totally untouched by the Hurricane. Yet through the storm, the Lord has spoken to me through you.

    Hugs to you, sweet little mommy!

  15. 65
    djwoodenshoes says:

    Thanks for the awesome post..it is very thought provoking! There are things that God is dealing with me about right now that I have had to step back and watch to see where He is leading.. one of my biggest challenges right now is letting go of my oldest daughter to go to college next year, or possibly this summer–she is mild/moderately Autistic, and it is really going to be a big test for me to let her go.. in our community she has been sheltered, but now she is starting to emerge into the beautiful butterfly leaving behind childhood–God is working trying to tell me it is alright to let go.. sorry this is so long, but it just was what felt like needed to be expressed.
    As I scrolled down through some of the other comments, Roxanne Worsham had quoted one of my favorite quotes. God is bigger than any storm, and He can be trusted with all that we struggle with!
    Thank you for all that you do with the blog and with Living Proof.

  16. 66
    Bobbie says:

    Thank you for the encouraging, timely words, Amanda! You never cease to amaze me. I’m praying that there will be “correcting, perfecting and shaving” all over our area. I know my heart needs it right now!

    I think all Mom’s have been locked out at some time! But I do love the tho’t of Jackson clinging to you!


  17. 67
    Anonymous says:

    Just keep going “deeper still” Miss Amanda…our Jesus is AMAZING! He IS your city!

  18. 68
    puzzlepiecesista says:

    Dear Amanda this post really touched me as I have been praying for all the victims of this last devastation. I have been pondering many thoughts in my head these past days because for our family we kind-of went through a hurrican all our own a year ago today, as that is when my sweet mama went home to be with Jesus. It has been a very long hard year learning how to pick-up the pieces and carry on. One never expects the aftermath of such a devastation to be ugly and so hard and so lonely at times. The re-building faze is not very fun or liberating unless you invite Jesus right on in to the mix of it. There’s alot of things that have needed to be shaved and cleaned up. It so good to know the I have God’s promise of an even better tomorrow. Jesus is all I need. It’s just Jesus, He always shows me what to do next. I’ve been broken by Him and then loved by Him all at the same time. And I just need to remember “when the pieces of the puzzle dont fit, HE puts them back together and they fit perfectly!!!”


    Thank you Jesus for continuing to heal the devastation in my heart after losing my mom and thank you Jesus for healing the physical and emotional devastation that these hurricanes have caused. Now rise-up and be ‘GOD OF THIS CITY’ AMEN.

    Much Love to you Amanda,

    Angela in Redmond, WA


  19. 69
    Tami Boesiger says:

    You’ve touched me with this, Amanda. And you make me wonder what kind of silliness God needs to pare away in me.

    being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

    Thanks for being transparent today.

  20. 70
    Emmy says:

    That was beautiful Amanda… made me really think about some things myself…

    In Georgia we are having a hard time getting gas (nothing like what you all have experienced!) but it is weird when you have to search something out that you usually don’t think about… last time I filled up I got some bad gas(another thing I had never thought about before… never knew there was such a thing?) and my car has been in the shop almost a week… It has been a bummer… but not near what other people are going through… a minor inconvenience compared… but I realize how much I take for granted… how spoiled I have been… change me Lord!

    Hope “Lit” went well last night!

    Emmy : )

  21. 71
    Lora B says:

    Thanks for sharing, Amanda.

  22. 72
    Anonymous says:


    This was an awesome post you did. You bared your heart and what God is doing in you. So instead of saying “Oh, you shouldn’t have been so hard on yourself about the baby clothes”, I’m going to say “your honesty was soul searing for me.”

    I love honesty in matters relating to the way Jesus speaks to us. This post will have a huge effect on the sisters in Christ who read it. All of us will take a second look at “silliness” in our lives.

    The Lord is pleased.

    love from Heidi in Atlanta

  23. 73
    pam b from sc says:

    Dear Amanda,

    There’s a song by Switchfoot that Jon Foreman wrote the day before his 25th b-day. Goes like this-

    “I’m not who I thought I was 24 hours ago [years implied here].
    I’m singing, Spirit, take me up in arms with You,
    And you’re raising the dead in me,
    Oh, oh, oh, I am the second man now.
    You see, I’m not copping out.”

    I’m glad you’re not copping out. That you’re letting the Holy Spirit have His way in you.

    I’m glad you haven’t pushed away the pain, however intense it may be, but you’ve embraced it and sang a song in your heart in spite of it.

    We are dead to so much that is happening around us in this world and, yet we have so much that we need to die to that we put off till a more “convenient” time.

    I pray that in this moment you’ve walked that tightwire in perfect balance. I applaud you, siesta.

  24. 74
    Anonymous says:


  25. 75
    megan says:

    Amen! I pray that in this time of heartache Texas will cling to Jesus!

  26. 76
    Susan B. says:

    What profound words! I needed to hear this as much as anyone. May I gain a sense of perspective in this world of materialism and self-centeredness. Prayers go out for everyone impacted by the hurricanes.

  27. 77
    gena says:


    Thank you for the post. I appreciate your boldness in challenging me to really look at the silliness in my life. Today has been a day of recommitment for me! God is so good!


  28. 78
    Mandy says:

    Our family had an orphan from Africa stay with us recently (my husband just left with him yesterday to go back) and I had that same feeling you had at the mall. As we lived our day to day life, so many things seemed really silly as he stood next to me. It really opened my eyes to what is truly important. I am so thankful God placed him in our lives and really changed our family’s hearts.

    When I try to explain that to other people, they usually don’t understand. And, my husband and I could remember times we didn’t understand when someone was trying to explain something like that. I think we have experience these things first hand sometimes before we pay attention. It is amazing though how God can change our hearts and make us free from those ideas of what the world tells us is important.

  29. 79
    Heiress of God says:

    What an awesome post.. thanks for sharing it with us! My kiddo’s were in Pearland and they lost everything. But they and the newborn made it out safely and now are with me in Austin. This is a true test of putting God first as this is playing havic on a single mom’s pocket book. But He is a God that provides and my provisions will be there when I need them to be.

    Blessings on everyone and Great Grace to those who are still suffering through this very difficult time.

  30. 80
    Ann says:

    Dear Amanda,
    I enjoyed Curtis’ bible study last night immensely! I will pray that his trip to India is a safe one.
    Tell me how does a boy from Willard meet a girl from Houston- Evangel? Kanakuk? BBC?
    You’re a lovely family, and congratulations on the news of a precious girl!
    God did protect us in our 11 days without power. Praise Him for cooler temps!
    But let us also remember that St. Louis was hit, Chicago, and I believe a million people are without power in Ohio due to Ike!

  31. 81
    Natalie says:

    wow! so true about people of WWII and ogf the generation that went through the Great Depression. Sometimes zi wonder how long the US prosperity will last. As you said, somethings are just “silliness.” I am sometimes so caught up in the extavegance that we have compared to the rest of the world.

  32. 82
    Anonymous says:


    Praise the Lord! I am going to share this with my sister-in-law in Houston. She just go power back yesterday.

    Although the Ike didn’t touch us here in MN, your words, God’s Word, strike a cord for me too.

    Bless you and your growing family,
    Mary Ann
    Siesta in Woodbury, MN

  33. 83
    elawhorn says:

    I was touched by your synopsis of your pastor’s sermon. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Locks on doors and boys, what is it? When my 4 boys were small the lock was reversed on the door to keep them from locking us out of his room. Well, one night my oldest decided to lock our babysitter and the four of them INSIDE his room by pushing the lock before he closed the door with them all in there. Well, she freaked, causing them to all freak with her. They sat in there for a couple of hours til we arrived home. She was in tears, the boys were scared to death the house would burn down with them in there, and my husband and I had to hold back the laughter til she was out of the house. We should have given a spanking I suppose but was just too hard to swat his little behind with belly laughter erupting from the rest of us!! Needless to say, we gave the sitter extra money but she never was as excited about sitting for us again!

    eva in tennessee

  34. 84
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the great post Amanda. I love what you wrote about the English people doing without….we really are a “people of excess” aren’t we??? Sometimes it seems the more we get, the more we want. I love what Leah wrote about God working in our nation. I pray that we all learn to do “without”. Our Father has made so many promises about taking care of our needs….how we will have enough to eat, clothes to wear, etc. Thank you to the young lady’s comment about turning off the TV. It seems there is hardly anything on anymore worth watching.
    We need to be wise with what God has given each of us and to what He is teaching us.
    God Bless all
    Bible Bunny in No MI

  35. 85
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Amanda, for your thought provoking post.

    Today, September 24, begins 40 days of prayer for renewal and revival in our country that will culminate in a 40 hour prayer vigil to end the day before the presidential election. I’m sure there is more information available, I’m just not sure where. What’s important is that it is time for God’s people, the redeemed of the Lord, the body of believers, the church to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and will forgive our sins and will heal our land.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you,
    Patti Hayes
    Lutz, Florida

  36. 86
    tracy l. says:


    Living in a region that survived Bertha and Fran in 1996 and then the devastating floods of Floyd (1998) just a few short years later, you nor your city will be the same. Ever. But you are so right, God will use it to His good. And more importantly to His Glory!

    Hugs to you and Houston

    Jacksonville, NC

  37. 87
    annette says:

    Amen Siesta!

  38. 88
    Retta says:

    As someone who recently turned thirty (the 13th), it is comforting and refreshing to know that God is not just dealing with me alone in this way …Further, I hope you find comfort in knowing that God is not just working in Texas alone, much less your God fearing city (Praise Him everlastingly). Through Katrena and Ike, I believe God is reshaping our beautiful coast for His honor and glory and not just the landscape but the heartscape as well …I don’t know what exactally He is up to but I have all my faith in the fact it will be awesome!

    And to go along with your England tidbit… Elders around me have been remembering growing up during the Great Depression in light of the recent national banking events.

    He has, also, showen to me that waiting on Him with endurance is the key.

    Passage Job 6:11

    “What is my strength, that I should wait?
    And what is my end, that I should endure?

    Passage Exodus 15:2

    “The LORD is my strength and song,
    And He has become my salvation;
    This is my God, and I will praise Him;
    My father’s God, and I will extol Him.

    Passage Isaiah 51:5

    “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,
    And My arms will judge the peoples;
    The coastlands will wait for Me,
    And for My arm they will wait expectantly.

    God is truly Almighty…Amen? Amen!!!

    Know: scripture was copied from the New American Standered Bible using bible.com.

  39. 89
    Stacy says:

    Sweet words of wisdom. Thank you for this post.

  40. 90
    Kristib says:

    What an incredible post. It is amazing how the Lord speaks in the middle of a storm!

    Praying for you and everyone affected by the hurricane.

    As we learned this summer in our Bible study, let us have no other Gods before You Lord! We love you so much Father!

    Love you so much too Amanda and family!

    Kristi B.

  41. 91
    Shannon Pate says:

    That post made me cry! What a wonderful reminder of what is important in this life. Thanks, Amanda!
    PS. You are a terrific mom!

  42. 92
    Aunt Rhody says:

    Thank you for this post. My relatives in Lake Jackson are also still without power. I read some of the link on the LJ home page and was stunned at how many school systems are not in session. My daughter in Austin is helping mothers of multiples who have been displaced with infant twins and triplets and moved to NICU’s across the southern part of the state. They have no homes, none of their baby shower gifts, and in some cases, no jobs. Talk about a mission opportunity!

  43. 93
    Retta says:

    Oh Ms. Sheri Lyn, your comment spoke to my heart and has lifted it up with hope…for He has, as with others I see, put me through a Job like testing in order to strip away the uselessness in my life in order to make room for the usefulness He has in store for me…I will praise Him for the rest of my days without ceasing!

  44. 94
    Retta says:

    Reading through some of your comments, Sistas, has taught me what I unfortunately did not learn in Katrina. *tears* The patient Redeemer tried to teach me then but I was too worried about the world to listen… I hear you, Lord, my God. Show me Your perfect ways and have mine die to make room…carve Your holiness into my heart so that it can never be removed nor forgotten. In the name of Jesus, Amen!

  45. 95
    Anonymous says:

    Dear Amanda,
    I too believe this is a wonderful post and know that it was a word for many to hear. We all have silliness in our lives that we can certainly do without, but siesta you must remember that God sings with joy over your excitement of your precious babe that you carry. I don’t know you on a day to day basis, but I read all your blogs and I know your heart is a precious one. I know that at any age we are all a work in progress and I certainly wouldn’t be writing this if you told me you spent the entire day at the mall for yourself, but to pick up something to share precious news with your family is a different story. Siesta, God gives us things to have joy through the “Storm”. Bless you! Lori

  46. 96
    Retta says:

    One more thing…Psalms 40:3,&16…the whole chapter even.

  47. 97
    Julie says:

    What an awesome Word Amanda, you have brought to light some things I need to work on also. Thank you. I pray that we will all continue to grow as we go through the storms and seasons of life.

  48. 98
    annie's eyes says:

    I don’t think I will forget that service for a long while. I went home thinking I need some more time with God. Shaving off the silliness comes in many ways. I have a lot of it. You captured it well. Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city–beautiful contrast of both Sundays–both so full of hope in different ways. Love, Annette

  49. 99
    Jackie Sue says:

    Precious post Amanda. Just precious.

  50. 100
    jan in nc says:

    I love your heart, Amanda!

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